The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic has long failed to take advantage of the internet's potential for putting pressure on Morocco and gaining international allies. Its long-awaited website didn't even have an English side, and went down soon after it was launched. Sahrawis might have finally come around, though, with their change of heart represented in the launch of the English-language version of the Union of Sahrawi Journalists and Reporters (UPES).
The UPES is a pro-SADR group of writers covering the conflict and Sahrawi life. The website isn't finished yet (there's no poetry or studies), but that doesn't mean there isn't good content. Rapscallion-about-the-Maghreb Jacob Mundy has an article up displaying his usual erudition about the conflict, as well as a snazzy Sahrawi chic picture. SADR's ambassador to the UK, Sidi Omar, also has an article.
The UPES has been around for some time, but I'm only fluent in American and that's limited my ability to cover it. One man who is a fiend at languages is UPES's Secretary General Malainin Lakhal, the mastermind behind both UPES and the Sahara Press Service, SADR's house organ. Lakhal's dedication to his people is commendable. Most recently, it's led him to tour Australia to raise support for Western Sahara and enjoy the hospitality of the good people at the Australian Western Sahara Association.
I'm excited about the UPES's potential to expand online discourse about Western Sahara. I'm not sure about this, but I think the UPES accepts submissions. In that case, there will be a contest soon to help fill out the site.
One man who doesn't need to win any contests because he's already cool in my book is commenter extraordinaire Desertman, who gave me the idea for this post.